Devotion and Commitment

Pink Cluster Petaled Flower

Christianity is not a ticket to heaven without any personal responsibility. Jesus made it clear that He has expectations for His followers: leave all and come follow Him (Matthew 19:21), take up our cross and die daily (Matthew 10:38), etc.

 

He calls us to live and act and have our existence in Him (Acts 17:28). We do this by walking in His Spirit and doing only the activities which He directs us to do. Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4).

 

God may call us to include social charities, hobbies, sports, etc. into our life, because many of these activities unlock our opportunities to share Christ with people that we may never meet, except for the common bond of these mutual undertakings.

 

However, in today’s disposable society, it is easy to toss God out or to push Him aside when our life gets too full. Satan’s goal is to distract us away from our time with God. We allow the “good” things we do to become the enemy of God’s plan for us.

 

We are too busy with non-essentials. The tyranny of busyness often consumes us and lassos us away from our covenant to commit our whole life to God. Dedication takes effort, discernment, simplifying and prioritizing.

 

Once we make time, however, the benefit of worshipping God with our whole body, soul and spirit is what draws us closer to His presence in us, and develops a more intimate and loving relationship with Him.

 

Our union with the Trinity enables us to function by His power, wisdom, compassion, dedication, and focus. God desires for us to totally commit our life to Him. We gain so much more than we give up.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that many aspects of life on this earth – seemingly good and worthwhile activities – are made of wood, hay and straw; while You call us to focus more of our time on eternal matters that are made of gold, silver and precious stones (1 Corinthians 3:12-13).

 

Help us to establish the discipline of praying without ceasing – having an attitude of prayer with every thought, word and deed during each moment of our day – so that we walk in the center of Your will. Then, You will sprinkle our days with epiphanies and “God moments”, ease our load, encourage our triumphs, and give light to our path.

 

Thought for the Day:

In order to accomplish a dedicated and committed life in Christ, we first have to sort through the excesses in our life and rearrange our schedule; we start by eliminating the less important temporal activities, which generally consume our time.

 

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Carrying Our Burdens

Close Up Photography of Multi Petaled Plants in Clear Glass Vase

 

Our human psyche is not designed to carry the burdens of life. Mental illness and emotional breakdowns, burn-out and physical illness from stress and worry prove the truth of this statement. Our central nervous system will not tolerate the encumbrance.

 

That is why Jesus offers to yoke up with us in order to help us to carry our load in life (Matthew 11:29-30). We fling our burdens with all of our might onto His capable shoulders, and feel the weight immediately lift from ours (Luke 19:35).

 

No remnant of worry, struggle, suffering, trauma, disaster, concern, obstacles, problems, affliction, etc. is ours to carry alone. God cares about our finances, vocation, family, marriage, health, personal feelings, church life, etc. and has a perfect plan for us in it all (Ephesians 2:10).

 

The Lord of all lords and King of all kings is infinitely interested in every aspect of life and eternity that concerns the welfare of His children. He is a good, good father, and we are loved by Him. He will never, ever leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

 

We are not the savior of our world, Jesus is; we do not have to allow the good things in life to become the enemy of the best things. We are not called to burn out by lighting our candle from both ends in an attempt to fill in all of the gaps of this modern church life.

 

We are to bloom where God plants us and to do things according to His direction, not according to everything that we see that is being neglected. Less is more in the Kingdom of God. We simplify our life and function in His calling for us, and we leave the rest up to Him.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we cast all of our cares on Your capable shoulders, and we thank You for allowing us to yoke up with You. Your help and direction prevent us from burning out and they infuse us with Your power and anointing to do only that which You call us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Everything else is sin, because it is not done in faith, but in our human strength and effort.

 

Teach us that You do not call us to fill in all of the gap in our world, caused by the lack of commitment in the Body of Christ that is prevalent today. Remind us that You have a perfect plan for our life, and as we serve You with our whole heart, and pray to the Lord of the harvest, You will provide the workers to partner with us in the ripe-for-reaping fields around us.

 

Thought for the Day:

Habitual worry, eating toxic foods, nursing negative emotions, depending on worldly media and technology to replace face time with God, obsessing over stressful aspects of life, etc. all contribute to our ill health; therefore, casting all of our concerns on Jesus’ shoulders and walking by His Spirit in the center of His will is the happiest place on earth.

 

The Secret to Success

Red and Black Flowers

As a teenager, I adjusted my behavior to fit in with my peer group, and I followed their lead. Little did I know, we were all on the path to pain and ruin, because people without Christ in their life find it impossible not to sin.

 

Human nature is bent on taking the path with the minimum amount of effort along with the maximum capacity for pleasure. We slip into every type of immoral and self-centered behavior, which causes us to reap destruction (Romans 3:23, 6:2, 10:9-10).

 

Sometimes, we go to counselors, self-help groups, avidly read the philosophers’ musings, and diligently apply our self to “playing the game” in order to climb the corporate ladder to success. We often spin our wheels; but, at other times, we do blossom.

 

However, only Jesus Christ creates true change in a person by exposing and eliminating our desire to sin. His Word warns us not to allow even a little sin to enter our life, because like yeast, it multiplies (Galatians 5:9).

 

God hates sin; not only because He is holy, but also because He knows that when we compromise our values, we put our self in a vulnerable position, which often causes us anguish and misfortune, when He wants to support and protect us.

 

God made provision for us through the cross of Calvary. When we ask Jesus to forgive our sins, He freely exchanges our sins for His righteousness. From that point on, we live our life following His lead, as He showers us with His blessings.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You commission us to tell others about Your love and provision for us, and to point them to our Savior. It is often scary to share, but so often we reap gratitude and huge smiles from those we talk to – even strangers in a retail store. Keep us from storming into their personal space, but to simply say, “I do not mean to intrude, but I just wanted to tell you that God loves you and has wonderful plans for your life.” Then, help us to be ready to explain the hope we have within us (1 Peter 3:15).

 

Remind us not to rely on our own plans, ideas and labors to serve You; but to “hang out” like a branch on the Vine of Christ, and allow You to use us to bear Your fruit for the nourishment of our little cosmos of time, matter and space. We want others to see us and to glorify You (Matthew 5:16).

 

Thought for the Day:

Even as a Born Again Believer, I have learned that we sabotage our success by several undisputable errors:

  1. We “own” our illness, and call it “My” illness.
  2. We view our mistakes as “failures”, rather than as temporary failings.
  3. We consider our lifestyle changes as “duties”, instead of a privileges.
  4. We feel hopeless rather than understand that we can hope in God, because He always plants a seed for a miracle in every trial.
  5. We attempt to find true happiness and fulfillment outside of the center of God’s individual plans for us; on the other hand, the center of God’s will is the happiest place on earth.
  6. We give-in too easily to impatience; however, we can find real joy in allowing patience to have a perfecting work in our soul – our thoughts, emotions and choices.
  7. Without faith, it is impossible to please God; yet, as we mature in our intimate union with Christ in us, it is so much easier to have faith in His faithfulness.
  8. We regularly go through the check-out line in a retail store ignoring those in line with us, as well as the cashier; but they are not there by accident, and God wants us to take an interest in them, offer to pray with them, or let them know we are praying for a special blessing for them that day.
  9. Sometimes, we get weary in our service to our King Jesus; nevertheless, even on the darkest days, God’s Son always shines.
  10. We often find it hard to wait for the spiritual seeds, which we plant in others, to bear fruit; yet there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven, including planting, watering and harvesting.

 

A Good Marriage – Forging Deeper Bonds

White and Purple Petal Flower Focus Photography

 

Working together in our marriage as partners, rather than pulling apart as adversaries, allows us to forge deeper bonds that bring fulfillment to our relationship. Even the most devoted couple experiences conflicts now and then.

 

Ignoring the issue allows it to remain unresolved, especially if we never discuss it. Give up your ideas and his, and pray together to find a third alternative you both agree with. If all else fails, a Christian marriage counselor is very helpful in resolving an impasse and preventing barriers between us.

 

Spending time together in serving God is also very nourishing to our relationship. A few nurturing ideas are: choosing a ministry in which we can serve together; learning in a Bible study class together; going on mission trips together; volunteering together in the community; hosting a dinner party with Christian friends, etc.

 

Have fun together. Go for walks and chat, take a picnic to a local scenic view, go to a café and drink hot cocoa on a cold night, start a campfire in the back yard and make s’mores, ride bikes around the neighborhood, help an older couple do their yardwork, etc.

 

There is an endless list of free possibilities to spend some quality time together. We married our mate, so that we could have and hold each other, so remember to spend time snuggling, laughing and chatting each day too.

 

When our mate is sick, we can warm a can of soup, play board games together, read the same book and share impressions about what we read, listen to the Bible online and discuss the verses, watch the same TV show, etc.

 

If we work too much, or fill our schedule with too many hobbies and activities, this will cause our mate to feel neglected, undesirable, stressed, unappreciated and lonely. It is vitally important to make time for one another, and not to allow our children’s schedules to get too full either.

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your Word teaches us that a happy marriage is one made of a couple willing to sacrifice their own desires for one another’s happiness and fulfillment. Remind us that a marriage that involves a committed couple is like a tree planted by a stream; its roots are not covered with grass and dirt so it can breathe (Psalm 1:1-3).

 

Remind us to stop to notice and to enjoy the beauties of new life during each new spring. We want to do more than co-exist; we want to blossom as a couple and as parents. Teach us that our marriage will flourish with fruit in the growing seasons, and it will survive the coldest winters, by sending its roots deeper into Christ and His Word.

 

Thought for the Day:

If we allow our self to get too embroiled in too many worthwhile activities that separate us, we stand the chance of smothering the roots of our love; short times apart are healthy for any relationship, but our “together” time should be just that…together.

 

All Good Things to Enjoy

 

 

The Lord is our great King above all gods. Therefore, we sing for joy to Him as the Rock of our salvation, and we come before Him with thanksgiving as we praise Him with music and songs (Psalm 95:1-3). We praise Him even during those trials, which we do not understand (James 1:1-2)

 

We come to see that when our faith is tested, we learn to persevere, so that we can grow in spiritual maturity as complete individuals, lacking no good thing that we need to survive in this world (James 1:3-4).

 

God proves to us the reality of His existence through all of creation; therefore, no one has a valid excuse not to believe in Him, since God made it so plain. His eternal power and divine nature are clearly seen in what He made and holds together (Romans 1:19-20).

 

Many people know about God, and some have even experienced His wondrous love and care in their own life; however, so often the deceitfulness of their pride and Satan’s lies darken their heart, and they neither glorify God nor give Him thanks (Romans 1:21).

 

Yet, one day, every single knee shall bow before our Lord Jesus (Philippians 2:10-11). The multitude of Saints in heaven will shout praises in one accord, for His salvation of us, as well as His power in and through us. His true and just judgments avenge us (Revelation 19:1-5).

 

When we see Jesus, we will sound like a mighty waterfall of thunderous applause to our Lord God Almighty who reigns forever and ever (Revelation 19:6). Great is our God’s power, majesty, provision, and sustenance for all of His Saints (Psalm 104:15-16).

 

All the earth and seas are full of His creatures (Psalm 104:24).

He gives shelter to the animals, and they depend on Him for their food and watering holes, for dens to rest in safety, and for their daily needs (Psalm 104:20-22, 27). We too learn to depend on Him, as our faith in His faithfulness grows and matures.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You provide us with the moon to mark the seasons, and You cause the sun to rise again every morning (Psalm 104:17-19). You give us work to sustain us, and You provide us with everything that we need (Psalm 104:23). We gather Your provision, and we are satisfied with the good things, which You continually and abundantly supply (Psalm 104:28).

 

We love You with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Thank you for loving us, even while we were still willfully sinning; we could not survive this life without the presence of Your Spirit within us. Teach us to put aside our prejudices, and our aversion to obnoxious and offensive people, and to love our self and our neighbors in Your name (Mark 12:30-31)

 

Thought for the Day:

God’s love is an anchor for us while we are adrift in the sea of suffering in this world, and teaches us by example how to love without conditions and restraints.

 

 

Gods Purpose in Changes

Photo of Daisy Flowers

 

“Change” is one of the most disliked words in the human language. The fear of the unknown is the culprit behind our reluctance to adjust. We settle in a comfort zone and see no reason to leave it.

God, in His mercy, always walks through change with us and in us. His Holy Spirit helps us to accept unforeseeable aspects, and to make a successful transition; and at the same time, Jesus helps us to find peace and joy during the whole process.

 

When God calls on us to make some alterations in our life, He provides for us everything we need to make that shift successfully, and we even prosper in many areas due to our obedience: physical health, financial security, emotional richness, and even spiritual prosperity.

 

As we seek God and His purposes and Kingdom as the top priorities of our life, He turns even the most debilitating issues around for our good (Matthew 6:33; Romans 8:28), even if the change requires that we leave family, vocation, hobbies, comforts, etc.

 

Many people live with change every day and never regret it. We can too, if we will surrender to the work of the Trinity in our life. God has a higher purpose for us in the transition, and we end up happier and more fulfilled than ever before, because we are in the very center of His will for us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we want to obey You in all things, even, if You require that we make some changes in our life. You know that change is hard for many of us, and we avoid it like a plague. Remind us that You always walk in us and with us through each one.
As we draw close to You, in the intimate union that You provide for us, we find the freedom and power to live each moment of our day under Your control, power and guidance. Give us the courage of David and the wisdom of Solomon, so that we will cooperate as You bring a new direction into our life.

 

Thought for the Day:

When God calls us to make a change in our life, Satan often gives us reasons to forestall the decision; we often balk at what we must give up in order to make this change, but Jesus always overcomes all walls and gives us abundant blessings for our obedience.

– John 14:15

 

 

 

 

 

Weary in Doing Good

Selective Focus Photography of Purple Petaled Flowers

Our teacher encouraged us not to grow weary in serving God. I have been there, done that, and know the feeling of being weary – bone tired weary, exhausted weary, discouragingly weary – feeling like I have nothing left to give and wanting to hide from the world

 

Trauma, trials, grief, illness, heart-break, feeling misunderstood and unappreciated and taken for granted, etc. can all make us feel weary. The Good News is that God is in us and with us (Galatians 2:20), and His rewards are GREAT. He is our strength and song (Psalm 118:14).

 

We cannot allow Satan to discourage us into getting weary in our service to King Jesus within our family, church family, vocation, community and the world (Galatians 6:9). God has a special plan for us; and if we remain in His will, He always provides our needs (Ephesians 2:10).

 

Jesus is our Vine, and we are His branches. What work does a branch do? Nothing… We simply stay connected to the Vine and allow nutrients from the Vine to produce fruit through us. We support the fruit, but we are not the source of the fruit.

 

If we try in our strength to win the lost, or to grow our church family, or to attempt any other feat for the Lord, weariness can overcome us. However, if we remain in the Vine, and His Word abides in us, we will effortlessly bear much fruit (John 15:1-8).

 

We feast on His Word, and we quench our thirst from His living water (John 4:10-14). We walk in God’s wisdom and power, and we find our strength in the shadow of His wings (Psalm 91:1-4). If we are to remain in His shadow, we cannot get far from our Lord.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we want to stop our ceaseless attempts to prove our love to You by our own works; or to accomplish our own goals, dreams and plans in our own strength, which is entirely useless (Ephesians 2:8-9). Your Spirit produces Your fruit in our life, which replaces our old, carnal nature (Galatians 5:15-25). Walking each moment in Your Spirit, in order to do Your will, is the happiest place on earth.

 

We want to live as a new creation in You (2 Corinthians 5:17), and we know that this is impossible apart from You (John 15:5; Philippians 4:13). When we bear Your fruit, and we draw our peace and joy from Your presence in us, and from Your Word and from Your strength, we will never grow weary. Prune the dead weight from our life, so that we can bear even more fruit for Your Kingdom.

 

Thought for the Day:

God searches us, and knows our heart; He sees the wickedness within our soul and prunes that away, so that we will bear only good fruit through our everlasting life in Him.

– Psalm 139:23-24